Packers Sign 6-Year Veteran Linebacker

Getty The Green Bay Packers have added another linebacker to the practice squad.

The Green Bay Packers had an open spot on their 53-man roster after placing undrafted rookie Caleb Jones on the non-football illness list. While Jones is an offensive tackle, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst decided to bring in a defensive and special teams contributor to fill the vacancy.

On Tuesday, October 4, the Packers announced on their team website that the team had signed veteran linebacker Eric Wilson to the practice squad. The team emphasized Wilson’s contributions on both defense and special teams, indicating that he may play a role on some of the team’s special teams units like punt or kickoff.

Wilson is now the fourth inside linebacker on the 53-man roster. De’Vondre Campbell and first-round rookie Quay Walker are the two starters, while former sixth-round pick Isaiah McDuffie has been serving in a backup/special teams role.

Although Wilson is on the roster currently, there’s a chance he’ll be cut or moved to the practice squad once Krys Barnes returns from an ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve.

Who is Eric Wilson?

He may not be a star linebacker in the NFL, but Wilson has carved out a respectable pro career, especially considering how he got here.

Originally a safety in high school in Redford, Michigan, Wilson was only a 3-star recruit with limited FBS offers. He originally committed to play for the Northwestern Wildcats, but he transferred to Cincinnati after just one season.

The decision to transfer paid off for Wilson. After sitting out the 2013 season due to transfer rules, the Bearcats linebacker was a second- and first-team All-ACC selection in his final two college seasons in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Wilson went undrafted in 2017, but was picked up by the Minnesota Vikings as a UDFA. He caught on with the team and made its final 53-man roster, playing four seasons with the team. His final year in Minnesota was his best, starting 15 games with 122 combined tackles, eight pass breakups, three sacks, and three interceptions.

Since then, Wilson has bounced around the league with short stints in Philadelphia and Houston before landing on the New Orleans Saints practice squad. However, with the new rules regarding practice squad players, the Packers were able to scoop him up and add him to the active roster.

Green Bay’s Linebackers Are Struggling

Wilson may have been signed to be a depth piece and special teams contributor, but it should also light a fire under the team’s two starters in Campbell and Walker.

Coming off a big contract extension, Campbell hasn’t looked like the same player in 2022 after being named a first-team All-Pro last season. The 29-year-old has even started to be criticized by analysts for his dip in play.

On the other hand, Walker is still trying to get his feet under him as a rookie. Coming from a historically dominant Georgia defense in college, Walker has shown an impressive ability to hit people, but the film has shown a player who has been out of position at times, especially in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Despite their struggles Walker and Campbell are still clearly the starters on Green Bay’s defense. However, if the two continue to struggle over the coming weeks, then defensive coordinator Joe Barry may consider rotating in Wilson.

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